"Private Practice" is the highly anticipated spin-off of "Grey's Anatomy" (the plot of the series was essentially put into motion in the 2-part "Grey's" episode, "The Other Side of This Life") starring actress Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery and created by "Grey's" exec producer Shonda Rhimes. In "Private", Montgomery has exited Seattle to head to sunny California to work in a private practice run by her pal, Naomi (Audra McDonald).
However, when she arrives, things are not exactly as they seemed: the practice is less advanced then she expected, no one was told of her arrival and Naomi's ex-husband, Sam (Taye Diggs) accidentally sees Addison naked. Overall, Addison's not exactly pleased, but as Naomi reminds her - she wanted change and this is definitely change.
At the practice, she's joined by a series of doctors specializing in different areas, including Dr Pete Wilder (Tim Daley), Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstein), Sam, Naomi and nurse-in-training William Parker (Chris Lowell). The doctors find themselves up against the chief of the nearby hospital, Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland).
The series - at least at the open of the first season - seemed to have trouble mixing its blend of medical drama and lighter comedy, as while "Grey's" occasionally has lighter moments, these serve as hits of comedic relief. The lighter, somewhat quirky tone that was present in early stretches of this series results in the drama having less weight. The show started to achieve a better balance as season one went on, but the kind of quirkiness the show goes for at times doesn't come together as it shifts uneasily between laughs and more emotional moments.
The second season of the series sees the show getting on more stable footing, as the attempts to balance different tones starts to improve noticeably and a series that was not always consistent in season one starts to feel much less uneven in season 2. The second season also offers another cross-over with parent series "Grey's Anatomy", as well. This round of episodes offers a set of mostly engaging storylines - both romantic and dramatic - including Addison finding out that the practice is in trouble due to unpaid bills, which leads to Addison taking on a larger role and then finding herself and the rest of the practice up against competition - surprisingly, lead by someone quite familiar.
In terms of relationship dramas, Addison has two difference romances, only to find them dissipate. Addison does run into a family situation, however, when her brother reappears in her life in need of medical help and he gets it - from "Grey's" character David Shepard (Patrick Dempsey). Pete and Violet also find romance, and take their relationship further as the season goes on.
Once again, the cast is the show's best asset, as despite the writing taking a little while to get into gear, Walsh remains a compelling foundation for the series, offering her best effort in order to carry the new show. She's backed up by a series of experienced supporting players that offer fine performances of their own, including Diggs, Daley, McDonald and Brenneman.
10. 2- 1 1 Oct 08 A Family Thing
11. 2- 2 8 Oct 08 Equal and Opposite
12. 2- 3 22 Oct 08 Nothing to Talk About
13. 2- 4 29 Oct 08 Past Tense
14. 2- 5 5 Nov 08 Let It Go
15. 2- 6 19 Nov 08 Serving Two Masters
16. 2- 7 26 Nov 08 Tempting Faith
17. 2- 8 3 Dec 08 Crime and Punishment
18. 2- 9 10 Dec 08 Know When to Fold
19. 2-10 17 Dec 08 Worlds Apart
20. 2-11 8 Jan 09 Contamination
21. 2-12 15 Jan 09 Homeward Bound
22. 2-13 22 Jan 09 Nothing to Fear
23. 2-14 29 Jan 09 Second Chances
24. 2-15 5 Feb 09 Acceptance
25. 2-16 12 Feb 09 Ex-Life
26. 2-17 19 Feb 09 Wait and See
27. 2-18 12 Mar 09 Finishing
28. 2-19 19 Mar 09 What Women Want
29. 2-20 26 Mar 09 Do the Right Thing
30. 2-21 23 Apr 09 What You Do for Love
31. 2-22 Yours, Mine and Ours
DECIDING FOR MYSELF
PRIVATE PRACTICE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON DVD TRAILER
VIDEO: The show is presented by Buena Vista in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is terrific, as the series looked a touch better than broadcast quality on this DVD. The picture remained well-defined during most scenes, with only the occasional touch of softness here-and-there. A few slight instances of artifacting were spotted, but the majority of scenes appeared smooth and clean, with no edge enhancement or other faults. The show's warm color palette is a clear contrast from "Grey's", and the warm hues looked rich and well-saturated throughtout. Overall, this was an excellent presentation of the series.
SOUND: The series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The series is mostly dialogue-driven. Some slight surround use for ambience and reinforcement of the music is occasionally heard. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, extended episodes, bloopers, "Patient Confidentiality: Examining Season 2" featurette and "Life Through the Lens: The Pictures of Chris Lowell".
Final Thoughts: "Private Practice" sees some improvement on the writing/behind-the-scenes side in the second season, while the solid cast continues to deliver. The DVD offers very good audio/video quality, as well as a few extras. Recommended.